Cancer in the Elderly by K. Redmond and M.S. Aapro; 1997; The Netherlands: Elsevier Science; 98 pages
This book represents the proceedings from the meeting of the European Oncology Nursing Society and the European School of Oncology held in Paris in January, 1997. The book is a brief outline of issues pertinent to elderly individuals suffering from or being treated for cancer and is aimed at oncology nurses. The book most likely has been translated from another language, resulting in many incomplete sentences, inaccurate English grammar and spelling, and other translation errors that often impair the readability of the text. Several studies appear throughout the text that are not referenced.
The incidence and prevalence of cancer in older adults are discussed in the beginning of the book. This engages readers because the need for this information is enormous. The statistics accompanying the description are startling. However, many oí the statistics reported in the charts and tables as well as many of the references used throughout the book are from the 1980s. The psychosocial issues associated with cancer were understated in the earlier part of the book but covered in greater depth toward the end.
In chapter two, the authors mention classifying the elderly population using a system other than chronological age. Yet no information regarding the alternative system, Quality Adjusted Life Years, accompanies this discussion. The chapter begins to explore the physiological growth of cancer within an aging body. However, the authors say, "the interaction between aging and neoplastic transformation...is certainly beyond the scope of the book."
The application of cancer and treatment to older adults is summarized in one or two sentences at the end of each section. Further discussion of the reasons older adults often avoid cancer screening may have been a useful addition. Chapter five reveals some contradictions between support for cancer treatment and poor outcomes but would benefit from further discussion. The book appropriately discusses functional status, cognitive status, and depression in relation to preparing older adults for cancer.
The book provides a clear outline of the issues relevant to older adults with cancer. Because of its brevity, the book may be appropriate as an adjunct to undergraduates interested in expanding their knowledge regarding cancer in elderly individuals. For practicing nurses, especially those familiar with elderly individuals, the book adds little new information to the current knowledge base.